Qualities of Sangha

Qualities of Sangha

The Sangha (the Community of Noble Ones) has the nine qualities as follows: (1) The disciples of the Blessed One practice well the threefold training of morality, concentration and wisdom, (2) The disciples of the Blessed One practice righteously the threefold training, (3) The disciples of the Blessed One practice to realize nibbana, (4) The disciples of the Blessed One practice to be worthy of veneration, (5) Being worthy of receiving offerings brought even from afar, (6) Being worthy of receiving offerings specially set aside for guests, (7) Being worthy of receiving offerings offered with the belief that the offering will bear fruits in future existences, (8) Being worthy of receiving reverential salutation, and (9) Being an unsurpassed (incomparable) fertile field for planting the seeds of merit for the world.

The Nine Qualities of the Sangha

The eight kinds of noble ones are collectively known as the Sangha. The non-ariya ones (Sammuti Sangha) who have the same view and the same moral practice as the noble ones (Ariya Sangha) are also included in the Sangha. The Sangha being endowed with nine supreme attributes, should be highly honored and venerated. The Sangha is peerless because it enables one who contact with the Sangha to achieve happiness and prosperity in the present existence as well as in future existences. The Sangha is an incomparable treasure because the members of the Sangha are incomparable in morality, concentration and wisdom in the whole world. The Sangha is extremely difficult to come across because it comes into existence only when the Buddha arises in the world. Only those who have accumulated great merits can revere and venerate this Sangha. Therefore the Sangha is the most honorable, most precious, most incomparable, most rare and most worthy treasure in the whole Universe.

The Eight Kinds of Noble Ones are:
* The first pair of the one who stands on the First Path and the one who stands in the First Fruition,
* The second pair of the one who stands on the Second Path and the one who stands in the Second Fruition,
* The third pair of the one who stands on the Third Path and the one who stands in the Third Fruition, and
* The fourth pair of the one who stands on the Fourth Path and the one who stands in the Fourth Fruition.

The Sangha (the Community of Noble Ones) has the nine qualities as follows:

(1) Suppatipanno Bhagavato Savakasamgho – The disciples of the Blessed One practice well the threefold training of morality, concentration and wisdom,

(2) Ujuppatipanno Bhagavato Savakasamgho – The disciples of the Blessed One practice righteously the threefold training,

(3) Nyayappatipanno Bhagavato Savakasamgho – The disciples of the Blessed One practice to realize nibbana,

(4) Samicippatipanno Bhagavato Savakasamgho – The disciples of the Blessed One practice to be worthy of veneration,

(5) Ahuneyyo – being worthy of receiving offerings brought even from afar,

(6) Pahuneyyo  -Being worthy of receiving offerings specially set aside for guests,

(7) Dakkhineyyo – being worthy of receiving offerings offered with the belief that the offering will bear fruits in future existences,

(8) Anjalikaraniyo – being worthy of receiving reverential salutation, and

(9) Anuttaram Punnakkhettam Lokassa – being an unsurpassed (incomparable) fertile field for planting the seeds of merit for the world.

     (1) Practicing Well the Threefold Trainings
The Sangha (The community of the disciples) of the Blessed One has practiced Dhamma well (with ever mindful, great effort, deep concentration, right thought and sharp wisdom) the threefold training rules Sila – bodily and verbal discipline, Samadhi – mental discipline, and Panna – knowledge discipline (seeing things as they truly are).

     (2) Practicing Righteously the Threefold Trainings
The Sangha has practiced Dhamma righteously (without concealing one$(Bs (Bfault, without pretending to be flawless, without pretending to have qualities or abilities) the threefold training rules.

     (3) Practicing to Realize Nibbana
The Sangha has practiced Dhamma the eagerly and perpetually because once a person enters a stream, he will not have a chance to be reborn in any woeful states, hell of intense continuous suffering, animal, ever hungry being, and being in miserable and remote places.

     (4) Practicing to be Worthy of Veneration
The Sangha has practiced Dhamma, that is worthy of all veneration.

     (5) Being Worthy of Receiving Offerings Brought even from afar
The Sangha is worthy of offerings (four requisites – alms, robe, lodging, medicine) which are brought even from far away.

     (6) Being Worthy of Receiving Offerings specially set aside for guests
The Sangha is worthy of offerings (things given to visitors like dear and beloved relatives and friends who come from all quarters).

     (7) Being Worthy of Receiving Offerings given for a next life
The Sangha is worthy of receiving offerings that is given out of faith in the next world (life).

     (8) Being Worthy of receiving Reverential Salutation
The Sangha is honored with both hands above the head by the whole world, thus it is worthy of reverential salutation.

     (9) Being the Unsurpassed Fertile Field of Merit for the World
The Sangha is the place for growing the whole world’s merit. Depending on it, the world’s various kinds of merit leading to welfare and happiness grow, thus the Sangha is an unsurpassed field of merit for the world.

     The Benefits of Reflecting upon Qualities of the Sangha
As long as someone reflects upon qualities of the Sangha, his mind is invaded neither by greed, nor by anger, nor by delusion. He has a right state of mind being inspired by the Sangha. And when he has suppressed the hindrances, the Jhana-factors arise in a single mind-moment. Furthermore, when a person reflects upon qualities of the Sangha, he is respectful and deferential towards the Sangha. He attains faithfulness and has much happiness and gladness. He also overcomes fear and dread. He is able to bear pain and comes to feel as if he were living in the Sangha’s presence. The body of who dwells in the reflection of Sangha’s qualities becomes as worthy of veneration as Uposatha house (a chapter house) where the Sangha assembles. When he encounters an opportunity for wrong-doing, he has a strong awareness of conscience and shame as if he were in the presence of the Sangha. If he comprehends no higher, he will be at least born in a happy state.